[Buddha-l] Copyright of Yoga Asanas

Christopher Fynn chris.fynn at gmail.com
Wed Jan 16 21:01:15 MST 2013

On 17/01/2013, Dan Lusthaus <vasubandhu at earthlink.net> wrote:
> To put some historical, cultural and legal context on this:
> (1) While many believe that the hatha yoga routines and asanas they use are
> "age old" traditional practices, it turns out that most of the routines are
> 20th c inventions, drawing more on British military callisthenics than on
> anything from traditional yoga systems.
> Cf. the speed at which BKS Iyengar -- one of the innovators -- performs the
> routines in 1938 he has largely devised (notice that several of these are
> played in slow motion).
> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mftKmszHyAA&feature=fvw
> Iyengar until 7:26 in, then Krishnamacharya.
> note how abrubt, and even violent Tibetan yoga movements are, contrary to
> your local yoga class:
> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BESrdlf-cPg&NR=1


While I don't doubt that callisthenics has influenced  modern hatha
yoga, and especially on the way it is now presented, there are
hundreds of asanas in Tibetan yoga texts which cannot have been so
influenced. There are sets of these asanas associated with every
Buddhist anuttarayoga tantra - many Nyingma tantras as well, and
others besides these.

These are described in detail and in some cases illustrated (if you
want I can send you some examples).

Some are performed slowly - others abrubtly / violently - and afaik in
all cases together with visualizations.

There are of course string historical links, going back to about the
12th century, between the gorakhnath sadhus and Buddhist tantra
traditions. The Nath tradition of course is the source of much of
Hatha Yoga.

 - Chris

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